Tuesday, 11 October 2016

A Static Shock Of Anxiety

One of the best festivals to hit London this year comes on the first weekend of November - that is, Static Shock Weekender, three days/nights of punk and hardcore nihilism that promises to annihilate my senses and render me useless for the rest of 2016. I am looking forward to so many acts - Iron Lung, Diat, Warthog, TV Crime, No Form, Sievehead, Arms Race, Sauna Youth, Bad Breeding, Sarcasm...and then there is Anxiety, the Glasgow miscreants who put out one of the best hardcore dirges of 2016. The four-piece are able to craft slabs of discordant mess that bludgeons from a surreal left field. They have been compared to Butthole Surfers (with an obviously more anarchic aural bent) but with their shades of unhinged Catalan hardcore and straight-edge sewer spray, all condensed into an oppressive vacuum, there isn't a band really like them. Watching them brings a smile to the lips, that tremors and falters as the caterwaul continues its relentless effrontery - Anxiety emanates from their every pore. You can pick up Anxiety here - get tickets for Static Shock Weekend IV here while you still can!

Ulrika Spacek: All The Time

I had a close friend over from Australia the other week so I missed London five-piece Ulrika Spacek make their return to their hometown. Which was a shame, because I really dig their sludgy, psych-and-no-wave-tinged monochrome growl. They aren't in the same abrasive bracket as Spectres, but there are shades of similarities in the blown-out motorik blasts and discombobulated vocals soaring above the black void. The latest offering from them is this 7" through Tough Love Records (get it here). The A Side is 'Everything: All The Time', a Kraut soarer that winds you in and spools out, the rhythms etched into your mind ad infinitum. And although I haven't linked it here, you can listen to their excellent take on VU classic 'Lady Godiva's Operation' that takes up the B Side here.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Aural Australia #3 - Feral Ferocity

Life is rough and stuff. Time to get feral.

Ausmuteants won't give a shit what I write here anyway. The Melbourne punk wastoids have made that abundantly clear with their track 'Music Writers' off new record Band Of The Future (out now through Aarght!) - an acerbic vomit that pierces the bubble on critics, both of the page and from within the scene. But you can never take these guys seriously - the album title alone throws shade on their Devo shadings, carving themselves of the Marty McFly's of proto-punk's past, flitting back and forward, changing history by deliberately crushing bugs, ripping off butterflies' wings, and beating mouthbreathers at their own game. Plus BOTF builds on last record Order of Operation's clarity, injecting the slicker sonics with familiar spit, pace and leers. The rants and tantrums are as visceral and zanily ridiculous as we have come to expect, yet even more infectious, like a sandblasted canker, with that rank synth whirr throwing us into the surreal and absurd. Nailgun blasts of punk that leaves slackjawed wonder in its wake, with bumps of T-Rex glam and Boggles wrongness to ingest. In short, brilliant. (But what does any of this even mean? What the fuck would I know? Just listen to it already.)

The Peep Tempel released one of Sonic Masala's favourite albums of 2015, Tales, and one of the most underrated rock acts in the country are back with a killer song and video for 'Rayguns'. A bullshit crazy newslogue purge with rolling-news lyrics, .gif ready stock clips fused to the band revelling in their zero-fucks chicanery. It comes from 3rd LP Joy, which promises to get deep into the human psyche and wade maniacally in the roiling chaos. There are still a great degree of Australian grotesquery and humour in their offerings though - opener 'Kalgoorlie' alone lends whiffs of Wake In Fright horror. And while we are at it, below this excellent video is another taste of the album (out later this month through Wing Sing Records), 'Totality'.

Screamfeeder closing out our second Sonic Masala Fest is still (and will always remain) a defining moment in my life. The band have continued to play together and release the periodic new song since re-releasing their albums on vinyl through Poison City Records, and 'Karen Trust Me' is the latest ebullient slice. They have their miasmic noise pop down pat - every chord change, swelling squall, cymbal crash and Steward/Lloyd harmony is present and accounted for, embedded with myriad hooks of all persuasions that it is impossible to remain impervious to its charms. It's enough to keep the withdrawal at bay until their promised 8th album in 2017.

Back to the insanity then. Melbourne punk messes Mesa Cosa have crafted a pagan travesty for their film clip for new track 'Stone Bone'. Still riding the serrated ridge between raucous psychedelic and fucked-up garage rock, the madmen don marsupial, Ex-President and Simpsons masks while running rank in the wilderness, destroying their instruments, TVs and other paraphernalia to climax in a jerrycan-fuelled bonfire for the ages. The boys spend a good portion of the time with their heads impaled on sticks too. They have sold their soul, sacrificed their body bags, and lost their minds - all for our eternal benefit.

Members of Freak Wave, Iowa and Camp Cope join forces to travel back in time to flannel fuzz Valhalla in TV Haze, an act inimitably indebted to Dinosaur Jr in both rambling guitar rock and dry, warbled vocal delivery. The 90s throwbacks continue, but with this self-titled effort it feels warranted, a welcome addition that climbs to the upper echelons of their contemporaries, yet steeped in Australian music nostalgia. They are playing some massive shows in Melbourne next month too supporting the aforementioned Screamfeeder as well as playing alongside SM faves Pale Heads, Ouch My Face and Summer Flake.

We will finish with post-punks Gold Class who are making their way back to Europe after a successful stint over here earlier in the year. New track 'Kids On Fire' feels (to me at least) a mix between obvious signifiers (Joy Division, The Smiths) and more rugged outliers (slowed motorik Hey Colossus, and The Spinning Rooms - really! - with the little guitar lick that strikes me like Joe's saxophone - maybe I just miss those guys so much). The film clip IS Gold Class - black and white, smoked lens, white on black, Venetian shadow, strobe glare. Urgent earnestness. The guys play in London at The Victoria October 26 with The Bodies - it looks to be a tense affair.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

September Girls Get 360 Degree Guilt

I just had to show this to brighten/gloom up your Sunday night - technology! The excellent September Girls released 'Catholic Guilt' - and the  360 degree film clip is amazing. The song itself reminds me at times of Electrelane in a Gothic maelstrom; the film clip like being caught in a tripped out pagan ritual. It is all incredible, I can't get enough of these girls. They are playing in London October 22 at Nells Jazz and Blues (no, I don't know either - but makes me even more keen to search this out).

The Manhunt Ends When You're Clubbed To Digital Death

James Arthur's Manhunt - already the name is telling us a lot. This Aussie guitar maven has touched down in Texas and roped in dudes from The Golden Boys and OBNIIIs to craft a singular mindbending vision - grafting space rock mania to bloodcurdling vintage rock and roll and sweat-spraying garage punk - a homunculus of gargantuan aural viscera. The new album is a stone cold guitar blast wormhole to lose your fucking mind in, and the fact it has been so overlooked is a fucking travesty. Make amends now - grab Digital Clubbing here stat.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Real New Real Numbers

I'm writing by the numbers today (sorry...) Minneapolis band Real Numbers are about to release Wordless Wonder through Slumberland Records, and 'New Boy' is yet another example of the type of ramshackle yet hook-embedded scuzzball hits they deal out with strong regularity. There aren't many bands that can hold this tightrope walk like this (Terry Malts, Woollen Kits, and lately Salad Boys are ones that come to mind that hold down the fort in this matter) - it's hard to work out exactly how they manage to do this without it appearing lightweight, cliche or blase. But they do, which is a wordless wonder indeed (sorry again...).

Pre-order Wordless Wonder here.

Nothing Dumb About These Golden Numbers

Good dude Geordie Stafford has been a mainstay in the Brisbane hardcore scene - his efforts in Dick Nasty and Teargas in particular leaving indelible claw marks across the underground. But he found it easiest when he worked on his own - his lone wolf approach to doom metal, Golden Bats, has been incredibly prolific, having put out six self-titled EPs, a few 7"s and some split releases with the likes of Pale Earth and The Steady As She Goes.

He was also involved in the Tym Record Club, where the seminal label put two likeminded artists on flipsides of a 7". Golden Bats' effort sat alongside Adam Harding, a similar Australian rock journeyman who started performing under the moniker Dumb Numbers. Harding has the Midas touch, and on his second album has roped in a who's who of rock and metal royalty to help out (including members of The Melvins, The Jesus Lizard, Einst├╝rzende Neubauten and Dinosaur Jr) - including Monsieur Stafford, who lends his axemanship to 'Unbury The Hatchet'. This song alone also features David Yow on vocals, and Alexander Hacke with keys and throat singing (!). The album itself predictably slays, of course, but I can't be any more stoked for Geordie (and Adam, of course) on this one. Grab Dumb Numbers II here (in purple vinyl no less), listen to the track below, and the entire album below that.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Aural Australia #2 - Apocalyptic Gifting

Christmas garbage filling the outer aisles of the supermarket, all while Trump rattles the doorway to Hell and we are dragged behind him in a hand basket. I am hoping that Tim Allen does another Santa Clause film, but it's set in the future with Furiousa helping him deliver presents to chroming baldies and models dressed in hessian and prosthetic pregnancies. At least there is hope in that future...Oh, and then there is music. There is always music...

New Brisbane label Coolin' By Sound (run by two of the raddest people ever, Belly and Shell) have two releases coming out this month, with some even bigger announcements on the way. First cab off the rank though is SM favourites Thigh Master, who release their debut LP Early Times today. It's been a long time coming - Thigh Master have been scarring the land with their scuffed, scuzzed and skewed guitar pop for almost five years now. It's an old offering in some ways - originally recorded in 2013, then redone when grand Dag Dusty Anastassiou layered more guitar over the top. The songs include contributions from multiple members across their revolving ensemble (the four piece have seen six incarnations, with Matt Ford and Pat Byron the mainstays throughout) and perfectly encapsulates the loose frivolity and looser hooks lathering their live sets. The band have made lackadaisical lambasted and loose-limbed jams seem both effortless yet frantic - 'Company', 'Treehouse A.P.' and closer 'Flat City' being golden examples. But there are times when they lose the slacker cap and try more melancholic, laconic speeds - the Brisbane downer drawl of 'Brunno Brawl', the Superchunk via Dunedin cheesed melt of 'Canned Opening', the languid malaise of 'Baroona'. The solo 'Hassa Been' is a cracked bay croon, caught on the back deck in the inner suburbs, 44 seconds of lightweight browbeating. Pretty indicative of all facets of what makes Thigh Master an indelible part of the Brisbane musical landscape. Get Early Times here.

Craig Dermody's Scott and Charlene's Wedding releases Mid Thirties Single Scene on Bedroom Suck and Fire Records, and it's a shaping up to be his best effort yet. His band has solidified to include members of Terrible Truths and Beaches and uber producer Jack Farley, and there is a muscularity to the musicianship this time around that, rather than showing a rock lash out or change in direction, it shows a confidence in the laconic, lugubrious, whimsical nature of ambling through the world tasting simple pleasures and grinding down the hours that comes with maturity. I am talking about music of course - Craig will always be a knockabout journeyman in life, taking knocks and giving back a languid grin - and what more can you ask for? 'Maureen' and 'Don't Bother Me' are already classics in the making, which bodes well for their upcoming album and Euro tour - Ill be catching the guys at Brunedell Social Club in Leeds on October 22, but there will be ample opportunities to catch them across the continent.

Now to another supergroup of sorts. Melbourne's God Squad features members of Cobwebbs, Black Vacation, The Kremlings and Sewer Side, and take on a woozy lounge groove take on post-punk doom and gloom. It was very much a time-and-place collaboration, but on the strength of these off-cuts the dudes should make this a bit more of a concern. There is gold in them thar hills, gentlemen...

I intend to do a much more in-depth look at this artist later on in the year, but I am so glad to hear that Greg Charles is releasing new music again. Having flitted around the edges of Brisbane music scene for over a decade in the likes of Blonde Cobra, Charles Curse, 6Magick9 and the Ex-Catholics, Charles has been an enigmatic yet fleeting presence, each appearance full of cracked genius, pastoral awe carved out of personal anguish, tragedy, punishment and redemption. Those who have heard his as-yet-unreleased 2007 album The Wrecking Moon have rued the fact that Charles' spiked and ambling, wasted yet eloquent rock hasn't been embraced by more. He has taken himself out of the limelight and has been fairly prolific; and in December he will be releasing his first release under his own name, Rough Music, recorded with Ben Thompson (The Rational Academy, Pale Earth) and Cam Smith (Ghost Notes, Tape/Off) on band duties. Highly literate about bruising ennui and catharsis, filled both with gutting hubris and garish gallows humour, Charles' songs will make you laugh, cry, and be happy to be alive. I will write more as the album comes to the fore, but in the meantime, here is a taste of what's to come...

One of my all time favourite artists in Australia right now is one of its weirdest outliers - Orlando Furious. The Melbourne provocateur has now moved into the hinterland of Queensland's Sunshine Coast, but his warped sense of humour riding a gnarled seductive lysergic techno ooze is firmly, synthetically intact. 'Sedyouse' is the perfect example of the cracked genius that OF is capable of. Every line is barbed with sardonic wit fused with silliness, but the beats are real - these songs are designed to bewitch. Performance art which revels in acerbic hilarity and ridiculousness - it's Liars for the Bi-Lo generation. I fucking love it.

It's fitting then to segue into Yaws' newie, 'Yuek', seeing as Orlando Furious both stars and directed the video. The techno noisenik is now back in London, but his sojourn back in Australia has only helped to fuse his warped dystopias with a wider zeal... Doubt is an amazing 12" (the first release from Purely Physical, you can get it here), and this video does everything to amplify the dazzling weirdness. The Squatter board game? Cyclone screen doors? Yaws google searches, thus promotion within promotion? Orlando trance dances? A ball pein hammer? A candle in a bar fridge? The ritual to be Yaws is complete.

Let's finish on brand new band Life Strike, who features members of Deaf Wish, Dollar Bar and The Rational Academy. The first sounds to come out of this collaboration merges The Kinks, The Chills and The Cannanes, with a smidgen of Robert Forster there as well - warm hooks that feel evergreen, yet with a 90s Gaslight Radio-meets-Sekiden geeky-pop-with-an-edge opaqueness that throws shadows over the pastel tones. This is likely to become murkier - the boys promise apocalyptic visions mixed with noise rock and punk as well. But for now, ride these two bliss bomb waves like Snake Plissken and Peter Fonda.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Sultan's Rockin' BBQ

Mark Sultan is back! Well, the cat never left the BBQ, but it's good to have anything new from the one man garage machine. He is combining the persona with the man when his new record BBQ lands in November (through In The Red, naturally). 'Rock Me' is apparently different from the rest of the album, but it is vintage Sultan - rollicking, heartfelt doo-wop garage rock du jour. A great way to close out the hump day.

Woozy Paintings At Dusk

Last week London duo Ultimate Painting released their third album Dusk through Trouble In Mind Records (grab it here). I still haven't had the pleasure of hearing it in full yet - but i have been enjoying the two tracks off it, opener 'Bills' and 'Song For Brian Jones'. These tracks are more about gauzy autumnal pastoral psych pop - the former is more about the overbearing weight that bears down the have-nots, while the latter breezes along, named after the Rolling Stones co-founder who died in 1969, the year the Free Love movement died at Altamont, woozy and maudlin in the dappled shadows. These guys keep getting better and better - I suggest you head to the Islington Assembly Hall tonight - get tickets here.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Aural Australia #1 - Catching Up On Lost Time

So much has gone by in the past four months that it is impossible to catch up, really. So I am going to give a series of longer posts over the next fortnight, mainly showcasing the music from Australia that I feel needs to be heard. This first one is Brisbane oriented, unashamedly so. Friends, foes, new and old, it's going to be a wild old ride.

I have been a massive fan of no-wave acolytes No Sister since they burst on to the Brisbane scene back in 2013. Their sudden rise and seeming implosion was the stuff of minor legend, the stuff we didn't think we would see again. But they were not dead - Mino and Tiarney merely moved to Melbourne, roped in some more heathens, and now have released in my mind the best Australian album of the year. Their self-titled debut is nothing short of mind-bendingly brilliant. The thing about the band that has been difficult to describe to others is that there is no half-hearted aping or hacksmithery here - they are earnest about their influences, astute in their constructions and desultory in their deconstructions. Hell, they have a song called 'This Heat' - what isn't there to love? But it is more than that - the incessant motorik rhythms that stutter and shudder in and out of focus, the frayed jangle and throttled feedback, the blood-splattered and screwdriver-molested fretboard, the atonal belligerence, the confident leer, the lack of fear. Disconcerting, manic, nightmarish, and very very present. Closer 'Passing The Divide' is the apex of this - a inexorable downward spiral, evolving as it frays and dissipates, eating its own tail. It's hard to say without sounding ridiculous - but No Sister have crafted an album for those who miss Sonic Youth, Arab On Radar, indeed This Heat, and rather than getting a carbon copy, wonder what they might do if they hit the reset button.

(Sleepwalks circa 2010 - they aren't very photogenic...)

Brisbane's Sleepwalks haven't been the most prolific of acts - their debut, The Milk Has Gone Sour, came out in 2011, recorded with stalwart Steve Albini no less. They play sporadically, usually to friends, barely ever tipping over a twenty minute set time, and otherwise life has gotten in the way. In the meantime the Aussie grunge "renaissance" has fully hit its stride courtesy of hometown stalwarts and Footy Show dividers Violent Soho. Even their latest album, Kingdom, has been around for a while, sitting on the shelf - I did a piece on one of the songs off it, 'Dry Gulch', what seems like aeons ago. The boys are sparser, more angular, wonky, darker-hued, and intelligent than many of their contemporaries though, which makes Kingdom a weirder, much more enriching listen. Their Sonic Masala Fest set was rough-hewn and with a Mclusky cover to boot. Someone oughta put some money behind these guys - they could carve their own peculiar niche in the woodwork.

Another act that started out in Brisbane but have winged their way to Melbourne is Dag, headed by lovely stringbean and font of laconic goodwill Dusty Anastassiou. They are about to launch their new album, Benefits Of Solitude, the recordings of which feature members of Bent, Thigh Master and Sewers. This sounds nothing like those bands. It makes sense that Joe and the Bedroom Suck crew would be drawn to this (seeing Kitchen's Floor, Scott & Charlene's Wedding and Bitch Prefect amongst many others have made it through their hallowed halls), but Dusty has an inimitably iconic voice all his own that, if you believe it, reaches higher than these incredible acts manage to climb. A massive call? True - but listen to 'Staying Up At Night', a magical three minute ramshackle amble that manages to shares echoes of some of music's Antipodean heroes (Paul Kelly? David Kilgour?) and look into the grey of dawn with a melancholy eye, while imbuing all with an aura of hope that outshines such downcast musings. Benefits of Solitude won't be out until next year, but rest assured that we will all benefit from the perennial fight for that lopsided smile in the morning light that tells you that everything will be all right.

Grace Stevenson from 100% (which we will hear from in a minute) has burst out into her own warped spotlight under the guise of Rebel Yell, a ice-laden techno trance dirge that remains somehow euphoric, in a synthetic dungeon fever dream kinda way. The "pop" inverse to brother-in-arms Yaws and DNA spliced with Kirin J Callinan, Rebel Yell both invites and repels; violence and eroticism offered simultaneously. Rice Is Nice seems an atypical choice for label, but her debut EP Mother of Millions is stunning in its stark beauty. Eyelids fluttering coquetteishly in the black UV before the gas filters through the bunker dancefloor - Rebel Yell grabs your cerebral vortex and never lets go.

100% continues the cold synth pop bubbling under the surface of the backwoods heat of Brisbane's musical frontier, and their You Are 100% 12" (out through Moontown Records) manages to both sound intimate, distant, cheesy and otherworldly. Mastered by Roland Hlavka (Cobwebbs, Drug Sweat, Barbiturates), the tracks evoke Angelo Badalamenti, Jenny Hval, Yello, Asylum Party, And Also The Trees, Circuit des Yeux -  but all imbued with a light touch, the drabness eschewed for frosted pastel shadings. Such ebullient touches, rather than make the tracks lightweight, provide a sense of intimate acceptance oft missing from music like this. They are already getting amazing support slots over the course of the year - expect something bigger as this lands.

Finally, and still in the same realm, we have Pleasure Symbols, whose latest release has been picked up for distribution throughout Europe by Avant! Records, so should tell you what to expect. A lethargic coldwave classic, cavernous and clearly at home in Scandi states of mind (ie dark, cold, glittering light shimmering off translucent ice and stylised leather), 'Underneath Your Skin' couldn't be more aptly titled. The monotonous vocals carry an androgynous sensuality to them, the beats a relentless march through the urban gloaming, the guitar pinning down a Gothic tension that is pregnant with foreboding.

This is just the beginning!

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

No Matter the Title - We're All Dead

Shirking the shackles with Guitar Wolf not enough for those five people out there that have been wondering what we on Planet Masala have been doing since May (outside of a little festival back in August)? How about some slow, loose, punishing Dead? That's right, the Victorian duo (although a trio in this recording) have another destructive LP out in UNTITLE (out through their We Empty Rooms label now). It's spare yet unsparingly brutal, with a desiccated tongue planted firmly in their rabid cheeks - the Melvins connection stand present and accounted for. Listen to the wild psych-loded meltdown at the end of 'Don't Pray For Us' and the chime that peals out amidst the chaos echoes like an impatient bell in the foyer of the gates of Hell, the boys eager to bludgeon their way in. There is the lurking 'The Kid Was All Wrong' (apparently in three volumes) that struggles to start, then stop, an anti-song to show us that patience isn't always a virtue (even at 4 and a 1/2 minutes); the doom howls of 'Turning Screws' turning into something more lean and muscular, horror tropes peering out like a dead eyed Alice Cooper a la Prince of Darkness (the trick is in the name); for me there is even a little prog amongst the free-noise stutter and drone of closer 'Line 'Em All Up' (with haunted choral ushering us out into the depths). I still circle back to opener 'Grizzly' as more "quintessential" Dead fare - mainly for the phantasmal explosions of noise that we are assaulted with that we are tortured for our sins for. That's all very well - but Dead aren't finished. This (after Collective Fictions from earlier in the year) is to be the second part of a trilogy of four ("a trilogy, but better") - there is more to come. We are all Dead.

VIDEO FEATURE: Guitar Wolf T-Rex Raises Us From The Dead!

Well, we have been away for a while - and it takes black-blooded Rock n Roll to bring us back from the brink! Japanese titans Guitar Wolf are in the UK this week, playing the Dome on Friday night (supports are excellent too, from the likes of Atomic Supplex and the mighty Black Mekon! grab tickets here) to force us all to bow down to new album T-Rex From A Tiny Space Yojouhan. The title track shares a video as bracingly raw, the trio crowded into a purple room that shrinks and expands but never stifles - Guitar Wolf know no bounds! They outlived the dinosaur, they will out live Trump, they will live forever! It's very rare to find a band that is extreme in visceral noise, garage swagger and frantic fun - do yourself a favour and see them on Friday

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Never Clever

Still don't know how Clever haven't eaten up the Eastern Sea Board of Australia in their attempt to immolate all that is cautious and safe, burning the vanilla tastebuds from the bloated tongues of the elitist tastemakers, performing a Caesarean on the self-congratulatory nonpareil and casting the remains away in disgust. Is that too much? The snarling primordials don't take prisoners, that is fore sure, and their first album Kewdi Udi sandblasts this fact for half a blistering, boiling hour. But like most of the top-tier pigfuck punks, there is as much sneering inanity as there is molten fury, but the acid-in-the face vitriol won't allow you to know the difference. Don't bother trying to decipher Mitch Perkins' vocals - the dead-eyed stare, with the slightest twitch of the jaw signposting a degree of lightness in the dankness, is unrelenting, as is his red-lined vocal disintegration. Harry Byrne eats up Jesus Lizard guttural sludge and vomits it out in a bass slung like a bilge pump. Fred Gooch manages to slay most guitar gods and seem to stand still, deliberately fucking with the dead and the living; Callum Galletly comes over the top, a melodic Juggernaut, both grinding a groove and pummelling souls, a cathartic mortar and pestle.

Buy this piss-stained cyanide punch of a record from Homeless Records (who else?) here. Kewdi Udi slays.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Better Late To The Miasma Of Bevis Frond Than Never

I had heard a lot about London psych folk stalwarts The Bevis Frond yet knew nothing about them - a band to have escaped my battered ears. But it wasn't until I spent a night beating the flu out of me with booze at The Mucky Pup here in London that I actually got to hear them (which makes sense - leader Nick Saloman used to do the excellent pub quiz here). Their first album Miasma is on their excellent jukebox, and it blew me away. Was it the cold? Was it the eighth jar of Guinness? There is a warm crossover of Smiths wash, Erickson wow and Pollard panache for me to want to launch myself headlong into their back catalogue. Fire Records have made it much easier for me too, re-releasing Miasma and Inner Marshland on Record Store Day in aqua and purple vinyl respectively. The guys are playing a one-off-for-the-year show in London at Birthdays July 10 - Ill be there, front row.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Slovenly Useless Bazooka On Avenue Z

I dipped into the Slovenly slime earlier this year and managed to drag out the desiccated gems Choke Chains, Wet Ones, Red Mass and Scraper put out into the world - but somehow the latest releases from European bands Avenue Z and Bazooka evaded my grasp. For no longer.

I was yawning my arse off today at the morning weekly meeting, and the thought of an 8 hour day was bearing down on me like a cyclone - and then ‘Machine a Reves’ kicked in, and nothing the shitstains of the world threw at me would stick. The French dirty psychser (featuring members of other great bands such as Catholic Spray – NOW you recognise that synth sidewinder! - and Magnetix) go for bottom-of-the-barrel chugging rock on Azimut, garage of the Underworld, setting fire to the river Styx before setting the controls to the centre of the earth and beyond. Here the fat buzz and Neanderthal roar that underpins ‘Invasio X’ – this is B-grade sci fi prog rock delivered with A-game aggro. It’s heady fun too – that title track is ridiculous! And now the band name makes perfect sense – so familiar yet so far out, this is Gallic garage rock emanating from the last house in the cul-de-sac – probably on the left, too.

Bazooka continue the diseased rock fare, going so far as to call their new album Useless Generation. I can’t remember when I heard a Greek band so pissed off – but look at the state of the nation, where infrastructure crumbles, unemployment skyrockets, and all you can get out of a cash machine is piles of dust. What else is one to do but to bluntly and raucously kick against the pricks? While the requisite revisionist psych synth and wah licks the edges, there is something totemic about the rhythmic plod of the drums, most evident on ‘Othoni’ – it’s inexorable, simple in its relentlessness. There is nothing else to do but to march on the capital, put vexed voice to the feelings of anger and frustration, and burn it all to the ground, rebuilding it all with leather and sweat.

Grab both of these - and plenty of other killer Slovenly records - here.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Never Upset About Deerhoof Magic

Massive news! The inimitable Deerhoof are releasing a new album later this year called The Magic - and it's coming out on one of my favourite gig promoters-slash-lil label that could, Upset The Rhythm! The first track off it is this showstopper, 'Plastic Thrills'. This has made my day (as has the above photo of the band - bloody brilliant all round). You can pre-order The Magic from here in white vinyl and a covers tape (that includes a version of a Twisted Sister song!) - expect a massive London show to launch this bad boy in the summer!

Woolen Men

The purchases were relentless on RSD, weren’t they? Well I hope they were for you guys. I spent money I didn’t have, and didn’t get everything I wanted – to be honest, most of that existed exclusively in Australia, and even more localised to a lil guitar shop in Brisbane – but what’s a guy to do? Well for one he can buy Temporary Monument, the 2nd LP from Portland’s Woolen Men. They sound kinda like The Wipers doing Parquet Courts doing Husker Du, with a Ramones hangover and extra motorik on the side (see the fun as hell title track). The trio are pretty pissed off at the Portland hipster affluenza that has infiltrated their hometown – pricing people out, closing down musical institutions (a common occurrence – the venues were there first, you moved into a music centric area, what did you think you would hear at night, you entitled fucks?!) And apart from the opener ‘Clean Dreams’ (which is still nicely acerbic), the songs rip along with a lo-fi angularity, a buzz-box fury that at turns feels slanted and disenchanted... Temporary Monument is the band’s testament to this, but also to the complacency of those who are displaced but accept it – it’s time to bristle, to bear arms (in a figurative sense), to fight the smug fugue with white noise – or rough and ready hook laden basement rock, at any rate. The album is out through Woodsist, it’s pretty bloody great, and you can get it here.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Adding Up The Statsmen Data

One of the most exciting bands going in Brisbane when I was "growing up" in my 20s was the stupid noise fury of Eat Laser Scumbag! Fast, furious, shouty, colour-coded - they were the ketamine Wiggles for the Ramones kids with ASD and middle ear infections. They tore everything apart, a cyclone of hypercolour decimation. The members of these bands went on to other endeavours (the slacker pop nous brilliance of Nova Scotia, the cartoon punk splurge of Undead Apes, the guttural pub punk of Eyes Ninety etceteraaaaaaaa).

But sometimes you gotta keep the dream alive.

Admittedly Champion Data, the throwaway album from 3/4 of ELS!, called here Statsmen, is decidedly different, more interested in Guided By Voices, Pedro The Lion and infinite other 90s guitar bands, taking the combustible energy of cassette-chewed lo-fi rock to all corners of the canvas (with some 8-bit Numan-highfiving-Devo magic on 'Candy', retrofuturist synth silliness on 'Indestructible Roger' and excellently warped motorik psycher 'Taken Over' thrown in to keep you on your toes). This may have been something to do to fill in time - but seriously, this is a great release that everyone should get into. I for one cannot get enough.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Mugging An Emotional Segall

This has been floating around for a while - and it's true, after my incessant writing about Ty Segall for a couple years, I have been detoxing over the past twelve months - but I bit the bullet and bought Emotional Mugger today. He cuts a more garage rawk trail than his even more prolific buddy John Dwyer (Thee Oh Sees), much more likely to blow the speakers than take you into the hyper ether, but he is no less adventurous here. Each song seems to be its own entity, intent to max out the red on every speaker known to humanity, flirting with all of his predilections (glam rock, garage rock, stoner rock, 70s metal, 60s psych) while skewing it all so much to ensure each morsel leaves a tingling sensation to the mouth and an acidic itch in the back of the nose. You gotta hand it to the man, that even when songs seem less focused on pristine songs to stand the test of time, and to develop earworms likely to burrow into your head and eat you from the inside out. That white-noise synth a la Digital Leather; the guttural heaviness, laser effects and 60s pop vocal stylings of  'Diversion'; the cramped horror glam of 'Big Baby Man (I Want A Mommy) - it is all deliberately off the wall and diseased. It isn't really subversive though - Segall knows it's a joke and his self-awareness is passed on to us, we are to be in on the joke - but instead is a macabre noise trip with indelible hooks and a brooding closer in 'The Magazine' that I have incessantly played since stumbling across it - like if TV On The Radio listened to Disappears, then had a hallucinogenic breakdown. Emotional Mugger is a schizophrenic record, but with so many crazy ideas hitting the mark - how the fuck does he do it? Grab it through Drag City here. Ty Segall is bringing his Muggers to London in June, with Aussie synth punk miscreants Ausmuteants in tow - get tickets here, it will be all kinds of awesome.